Values is a buzzword that often gets thrown around in conversations about corporate culture and politics but actually, values work begins with each of us. Researcher and author Brené Brown defines values as “a way of being or believing that we hold most important.” For most of us, values are the compass that guide our lives, whether we are consciously aware of them or not.
Getting clear on our own values serves as a simple and illuminating way to guide the way we live, love and lead. Our values can shift throughout our lives – especially with major life changes like starting our careers, having children or retiring. If we’re clear on our values, we can use them to aid our decision making.
My number one value at this stage in my life is integrity. For me, that means being honest, keeping my word and living in a way that reflects what feels right and true for me. If I’m presented with a relationship or opportunity that challenges my ability to be in integrity, it’s probably not a role or decision that’s right for me. My values represent my “why” – the reason I say yes or no - especially when that decision is difficult.
Want to get clearer on your values? Try these 3 steps. (You can also access a worksheet and more resources to help you navigate this when you sign up for the 3Be Newsletter!)
Using the list below, circle every value that has meaning for you. Then, taking a second pass through your circled options, you might ask yourself, “If I were going on the journey of my life and could only take one value with me to guide and support me, which one would I take?” Then if you could take one more, which one would it be?
Continue on from there until you have a top five (at the most) list. Some people get hung up thinking that they need to have a "perfect" list (there is no such thing). Others see these as ideals and wrestle with the word placement on the list based on how well they are honoring those values in their own lives right now. Don’t worry about that! Values are neither morals, nor principles! This is the time to get in touch with those qualities that REALLY matter to you -- whether that value is getting fulfilled in your life right now or not.
As you move through the following days, observe your life with particular attention to how you feel. When you are happy or peaceful, get curious about which values are being honored. When you are angry, stuck or frustrated, look to see which values are being ignored or stepped on. The link between how you feel and how well your values are being prioritized will become clear pretty quickly. As you face decisions in your life, big and small, you now have a tool to guide you. You can ask yourself: does this choice (this person, this project, this purchase) take me closer to my values or further away? As you turn toward your values, you set yourself up for a meaning-filled life that feels uniquely right for you.
Categories: Working Parents